Teaching British Values
It is ours, and every school’s responsibility “to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.”
At Sevenoaks Primary School, we recognise the importance of this as part of our vision to ensure our children are good, responsible citizens. The teaching of these values is both implicit, through the way we, as staff, model behaviour and praise it in the children, and explicit through specific lessons that explore what British values mean, through our PSHE curriculum and circle times, many cross curricular links and in our assemblies.
Here are some of the ways we ensure we are promoting each of the values:
Sevenoaks Primary has a school council. New members are elected each year from all the classes (Years 2-6). Children who want to run for the council write a statement to support their proposal to be their class representative and the children decide by voting, who will be best to represent them. Children understand that a place on the school council comes with the responsibility of representing their peers’ needs and interests. We also have an anti-bullying ambassador from each class who is elected to be part of ‘The A team’ overseeing playtimes and sharing in assembly.
Democracy is taught during assemblies and class-based PSHE sessions. Teachers are also reactive to current affairs, for example, discussing issues such as Brexit and national elections.
Children also have an opportunity to express their views through pupil voice interviews and questionnaires. Each year, a member of the Governing body visits the school council to discuss issues from the school improvement plan in order to get the child perspective and they have an opportunity in turn to report anything of interest to them, to the Governors.
The Rule of Law
Behaviour and safety are consistently good and seen as an absolutely priority by the entire school community. They are discussed throughout the year in class and assemblies, at playtime line ups and on external visits.
At the beginning of each academic year, new classes work collaboratively to draw up a set of class rules that they are expected to follow. These are displayed in the classrooms in order that children can be reminded of them, if and when the need arises.
All children understand that their behaviour should set an excellent example to others, particularly younger children. They are also aware that how they behave when outside of school, on trips, at competitions etc., reflects on our school and as such, they maintain the high level of behaviour expected of them. This ensures that we are able to continue with our wide range of exciting trips and competitions.
Many of our children become leaders enforcing rules and ensuring the safety and well-being of their peers. These include:
Sevenoaks Primary is a safe place for children and as such, children feel comfortable in their learning environments. Children are taught boundaries but within these, they are free to take risks with their learning, make mistakes and suggest thoughts and ideas freely. In classes, children are comfortable contributing and making decisions to further their own learning. Whether it is through deciding on a level of challenge, of how they record or what they research; pupils are given freedom to make choices.
Children are taught to understand their rights and know how to exercise these safely, for example through our online safety and PSHE lessons.
Our three school rules that sum up all we do are:
- Everyone has the right to respect
- Everyone has the right to feel safe
- Everyone has the right to learn
Assemblies and PSHE regularly cover ‘Respect’. Pupils discuss what this means and how we show it. An example of this with our FS and KS1 children is our focus around the book, ‘How to fill your bucket’. By showing kindness, manners, support etc, you can help to fill another person’s bucket and make them feel happy. The great thing is, by doing that you will also fill your own bucket and raise your own happiness levels. Our KS2 series of assemblies around ‘The six ways to well-being’ includes connecting with people and caring for the planet.
Children are praised in phase assemblies with certificates for learning, attitude and behaviour. All attributes are praised highly and every child can earn house-points for their houses by, amongst other things, their manners, their caring attitude and their contribution to the well-being of everyone at school.
We have a compliments day each year in which we contrive to ensure we compliment as many of our school community as we can. This includes families, staff and peers. Children are reminded of the importance of not taking people for granted, they become aware of the good qualities of those around them and learn that it feels good to give the compliment as well as receive it.
Tolerance of those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society. Our RE curriculum is broad and children learn about all the major faiths. The Geography curriculum has been adapted to ensure that on their journey through school, children will learn about people from all the continents, their beliefs and how they live. We also look at the British people and how we, as a nation, are diverse in our lifestyles and beliefs. See Year 3s display on Paddington and how Mrs Brown said that as everyone is different in London, anyone can fit it.
Displays are used to celebrate all the different parts of the world that our children come from and assemblies are used to inform children about celebrations and festivals from other religions, for example, Chinese New Year and Divali.